UPDATE: I forgot that Houston spans at least three counties. (Yes, I know, the CMSA spans eight counties, but only three are relevant to Houston City Council elections.) In Harris County, Kristi Thibaut won by 139 votes. In Montgomery County, one lonely soul voted for Thibaut, and no one voted for Burks. But in Fort Bend County, Andrew Burks, Jr. prevailed by another 350 votes. So Burks is the overall winner. I guess his 12th time was a charm. Damn, that chafes my butt. Ignore the result I reported below.
AFTERTHOUGHT to the UPDATE: over at Off the Kuff (see blogroll… Kuffner is Houston’s signature Democratic political blogger), several commenters emphasize that Fort Bend County has a very large African American population, who may have voted for Burks based on race. Without denying that at all, I think the emphasis is misplaced (though understandable): what about the Harris County GOP endorsement of Burks, who is allegedly a Democrat? I would think that that endorsement in Harris County would drive many more votes than even a large percent of the large African American population in Fort Bend. But to be blunt, Kuff is a genuine political expert, and I am not. He promises one of his famous detailed analyses of the result soon. I’m just putting out the possibility that the reason for Burks’s election is different.
As I remember from years ago at Democratic gatherings (and mentioned below), Burks is a genuinely nice guy. I’ve even voted for him when he ran as a “D” (aside: Houston city offices are by law nonpartisan, as if everyone doesn’t know everyone’s affiliation, but Burks has also run for state offices). But someone who receives an “A” rating from Texas Conservative Review must be a great deal more of a DINO than I realized at the time.
ASIDE: someone on Kuff’s thread remarked (and I have not verified this) that candidates endorsed by the Houston Chronicle went 0-for-4 in the runoff. Just what that means, I’m not sure, but this is a paper whose owners forced an endorsement of George W. Bush on the reluctant editors… that endorsement was one of the funniest bits of political prose I’ve ever read. Would someone please fund a better news source in Houston? The newspaper sucks, the broadcast TV news is mediocre, and the radio “news” is dominated by the Right.
Original post follows.
Houston City Council runoffs are done, and unofficial results are available. Of the two races on my ballot, one of my candidates… the one I noted as being truly obnoxious and prone to offending people… took a pounding, about 55-44, and lost her seat to the well-scrubbed young Republican. That was hardly a surprise.
The other race is more interesting, and I use “interesting” in the same sense as it appears in “may you live in interesting times.” My candidate won, but by an unofficial 139 votes out of about 51,000 total; that’s about 50.14-49.86, which will probably lead to a recount. Exactly what the significance of a “recount” is in an election conducted with electronic voting machines and systems that aggregate votes on each polling site is questionable; your guess is as good as mine. I don’t like or trust the damned things. The result may hold. Or maybe not; stranger things have happened…
The presumed winner, Kristi Thibaut, a former Democratic State Representative who was ousted from the Lege in the Republican sweep of 2010, has creds in abundance on most issues that matter to me: environment, infrastructure, etc. The other candidate, Andrew Burks, Jr., a preacher who is nominally a Democrat but had the announced support of the local GOP, received an “A” from a state conservative association (which? sorry; I don’t remember) (ADDENDUM: Texas Conservative Review.). This was his 12th run for local public office. He’s a heckuva nice guy, but I don’t really see him as a potential improvement on City Council: his stated positions are, shall we say, less than complex, and Houston’s problems are more than complex. How weak was he? so weak that, although Burks is African American, a dozen well-known leaders of the local Black community, all state legislators… as well as Barack Obama, for what he’s worth… joined together to endorse his opponent.
And so I am still in suspense on a matter I assumed would be resolved by tonight. “Tomorrow, tomorrow, there’s always tomorrow…”